Glasgow-born Alex Harvey’s career began in the 1950s when he won a competition to become Scotland’s answer to Tommy Steele (he dubbed himself ‘Last of the Teenage Idols’). He was a devoted family man but in front of an audience he became an unforgettable entertainer – charismatic, provocative and intense. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band eventually became one of the most exciting live acts of the 1970s – taking in Jacques Brel, rock and vaudeville.
But Harvey’s life offstage was beset by tragedy and his own alcoholism: his younger brother, Les, was electrocuted on stage; his manager and friend Billy Fehilly was killed in a plane crash. Eventually with his band in tatters, Alex sank into a sea of alcohol, finally succumbing to a fatal heart attack whilst waiting for a ferry home from a gig in Belgium in 1982, the day before his 47th birthday. (pb)